Mining industry eager to meet Paje
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines is pleased with the proposal of Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to meet with mining industry’s leaders to discuss our position on an administrative order recently issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
We express our serious concern about the apparent haste by which Department Administrative Order No. 2015-07, which orders all mining contractors to secure an ISO 14001 certification within one year from its issuance, was issued—without the benefit of public consultations. The order has serious implications particularly to new operations that are starting to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS).
The other reasons the chamber wishes the DENR to review and clarify the order are:
- The order mandates only the holders of valid Mineral Agreements and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements. It does not cover small-scale mining operations that are also engaged in extractive activities and have a similar, if not adverse, impact on the environment.
- Large-scale metallic mines already implement a credible and effective EMS as set forth in their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programs (Epeps).
- The period for compliance is too short.
- The penalties for failing to secure an ISO 14001 certification within the given period are too harsh and unwarranted.
The members of the chamber, who are large-scale metallic mining corporations, have demonstrated their willingness to comply with—and are actually going beyond—the requirements of the law to ensure that their operations are on a par with global environmental standards. In fact, a number of our members are already ISO-certified; many others have also voluntarily embarked on the process of getting an ISO certification although they are implementing an effective EMS through their Epeps, following the measures indicated in their Environmental Compliance Certificates.
The mining industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries here and abroad, and we feel a healthy partnership with policymakers and regulators is of utmost importance if the country is to maximize the potential of minerals development for economic growth and nation-building. It is our view that we should work hand-in-hand with the various government offices as the minerals that we get from the soil belong to the nation and all its generations.
More than any stakeholder, we are concerned with the protection of the environment being directly engaged in a productive economic activity. We support the innovations in technology, processes and policies of government that would lead to a more effective management of our natural endowments. We are of the position that these are better achieved if industry and government talk to each other and work together.
Thus, the suggested meeting with Secretary Paje is most appreciated by the industry, a positive development for a sector that has been wanting to feel the air of certainty when it comes to national policies. We expect the meeting to be set immediately before the 15-day prescriptive period after the publication of the order ends. We are grateful that the secretary is acting on our concerns, and we look forward to this meeting.
—NELIA C. HALCON, executive vice president, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines
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